We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

national park reservations service/ what a mess

Fair Oaks...
Level Contributor
28 posts
129 reviews
Save Topic
national park reservations service/ what a mess

Last July (2006) we made reservations with the National Park Reservations for Yosemite Lodge for three rooms for three nights June 15-18. Because of a job change, one of our parties had to cancel the last night, Sunday, to return to work by Monday. Each of the three rooms had different resevation numbers and we were very clear about teling the service that we wanted only the one room canceled for the one night.

Several months later and two weeks before the scheduled bookings, we were shocked to find that without saying a word about the other rooms, the service canceled all three for Sunday night. Their agents tried to mitigate the situation by finding us substitute accommodations, but they were outside the park 15 miles from the Valley,and far more expensive.

Because of National Park Reservations first mistake, I called the Lodge a few days before our planned departure to re-confirm our reservations. This time we were shocked to be told that the National Park Reservations had made our reservations for July not June. It seems that the National Park Reservations clerk had "hit the wrong month" when entering it into its computer, even though the confirmation sent to us listed the correct month. The representative of the National Park Reservations apologized but could not restore our reservations and then found us three rooms outside of the park. No not at the same resort, at a different one 20 mles away from the first. We had planned this trip almost a year ago specifically to stay on the valley floor as close as possible to Yosemite Falls, so our children could enjoy the early mornings and evenings there.

Finally, the deposit. National Park Reservations required us a 10% non-refundable cancellation fee. For their numerous mistakes, National Parks Reservations told us our deposit would be refunded. We were also told we would receive by immediate e-mail a full accounting of the charges and credits made. To date we have received nothing from National Parks Reservations.

These mistakes were so all-pervasive that you have to wonder if this company purported to ruin our reservations so it could 1) re-book Yosemite Lodge later at higher prices and 2) force us to rent rooms at more expensive places. If this is Privatization, forget it.

Mentioned in this post
Yosemite Valley Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge
4,023 Reviews
Yosemite National Park, CA
Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls
2,026 Reviews
Yosemite National Park, CA
Yosemite / Sierra...
Level Contributor
560 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: national park reservations service/ what a mess

So sorry to hear about all this. But frankly this is one reason I do not visit Yosemite during peak times and would prefer to stay outside the Park. That said, mistakes can occur anywhere and by anybody, but the ones you experienced went from bad to worse.

But question for you...did you finally get to Yosemite and how were your accommodations outside the Park? I hope you were still able to enjoy Yosemite.

I guess the lesson to be learned from this is to get written confirmation so that you can verify all the details. A phone call is not good enough. But frankly I am surprised that the National Park Reservation system did not send you paperwork. There are probably fake websites out there that pretend to be something they are not. I hope you were dealing with the real thing. It sounds like this was a third party and not DNC, the Yosemite concessionaire, that runs all the lodging facilities inside the Park.

If you were dealing with a thrid party, you probably have no recourse.

Please follow-up and do find out exactly who you were dealing with and post on TA so we can all learn from this experience.

Mentioned in this post
Yosemite / Sierra...
Level Contributor
560 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: national park reservations service/ what a mess

One more thing...

Were you using...http://www.nationalparkreservations.com ?

I believe that his is not an official Park Service web site and a third party may have scammed you. Anybody know anything about this web site???

The official Park web site ends in ".gov".

California
Level Contributor
10,862 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: national park reservations service/ what a mess

Here's the DNC reservation link:

www.yosemitepark.com/Accommodations.aspx

It links right off www.nps.gov/yosemite

Yosemite / Sierra...
Level Contributor
560 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: national park reservations service/ what a mess

suzie-travels...

Yes, I agree...that is the reservation website for Yosemite.

But do you have any experience with www.nationalparkreservations.com ?

Mentioned in this post
California
Level Contributor
10,862 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: national park reservations service/ what a mess

No I only use the DNC one. I think the other has third party rates and access but I don't know that for sure. I just prefer to use the regular reservation system. Also once you are in the system you don't have to provide all the information every time you make a reservation. It's pretty simple.

Fair Oaks...
Level Contributor
28 posts
129 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: national park reservations service/ what a mess

We used the nationalparkreservations@yahoo.com. It was simply the first one that comes up when you google "Yosemite Reservations". No warning at all that it's not official. We did see a statement that the website was not affililated with the national park system. We assumed that meant they were merely yet another of the firms to whom the government has contracted out its duties.

We did get e-mail confirmation on everything, which listed the correct dates. But obviously that did not mean anything. Hopefully, we get our money and deposit back. I hope this warns other travelers.

As for the accommodations, after all of this hastle and our being seniors, we decided we had had enough stress, opted not to go and gave the reservations to our daughter's family and a friend. Will report on Monday.

Mentioned in this post
Yosemite / Sierra...
Level Contributor
560 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: national park reservations service/ what a mess

I also “googled” Yosemite Reservations. The first one that comes up is a sponsored link and indeed the site in question. I believe that the NPS does not pay for sponsored links, but I am not sure. I am not against sponsored links, but people clicking on them should be aware that not all are legitimate. Some third party services or host sites are perfectly legitimate, but some are not. I read the terms under this site and they make their money by charging a 10% fee to make your reservations with the Park Service. It is not really a scam, but just someone acting as a middle-man and probably no different than using a travel agent or a site like hotels.com, etc. It is best to make your reservations directly through the Park Service. I have heard horror stories about sites like hotels.com. There is no guarantee what you are buying.

Bottom-line, is that it was not the Park Service that messed up this time. Sorry you were taken, and I do hope you get your money back, but I bet not.

Please report back as to the outcome of this happening.

Mentioned in this post
Traverse City...
Level Contributor
316 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: national park reservations service/ what a mess

Yosemite Lodge, Curry Village, and the Ahwahnee Hotel are not "part of the National Park" system but are part of the Delaware North Concessions (DNC) ie: an authorized concessionaire. They have their own website at yosemitepark.com. With a cancellation no money is charged, just like any hotel booked directly to the hotel, not a travel agent website. Anyone else selling rooms at these locations are agents who have purchased blocks of rooms. I am so sorry you did not know this. Those of us in California who go regularly do. This is not "privitiization" but someone using a website address that sounds official.

Mentioned in this post
Yosemite Valley Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge
4,023 Reviews
Yosemite National Park, CA
California
California
United States
Orange County...
Level Contributor
406 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: national park reservations service/ what a mess

suethe,

I'm sorry for the problems you experienced. To be very honest with you, if you had gone to www.yosemitepark.com, the official reservation Web site run by DNC, the park concessionaire, you would not have experienced those problems.

Saint Germain...
Level Contributor
2,513 posts
94 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: national park reservations service/ what a mess

Unless you are dealing directly with DNC, Delaware North, the parks concessionaire, you are not dealing with anyone who can really help you with correcting a last minute reservation problem. You will be dealing with a third party that is tapping into pretty much the same inventory we can all see through the official reservation website.

The only official website for in-park reservations is www.yosemitepark.com.

http://www.nationalparkreservations.com features many properties outside the park that they will refer you to and these properties pay commissions to them for this service, much like they would a travel agent. Now---there is absolutely nothing wrong with using these other sites to make reseravations, they may even have blocked out rooms you can't otherwise get. These are perfectly good reservations. But once they are out of rooms, they don't necessarily have any more pull with DNC to help you with your problem.